Saturday, 9 July 2011
ICAP Leopard at the race start. Image copyright Transatlantic Race 2011.
by Kirsten Ferguson
ICAP Leopard contacted the Transatlantic Race 2011 media team today to reveal a major breakage in board. All of the crew are fine and the boat is structurally sound. However, one can only wonder what might have been for ICAP Leopard if they had not suffered this fundamental failure so early in the race.
ICAP Leopard’s captain, Chris Sherlock, has announced that their bowsprit broke at 20.20 UT on Monday 04 July, just over a day after leaving Newport, R.I. The damage happened in flat water after passing the George’s Bank with a fractional sail flying off the sprit.
No one was hurt in the incident and both the sail and the sprit were recovered safely. Since then Chris has been working with the crew and the Farr office, Leopard’s designers, to work out ways to keep racing safely.
Fortunately the way the boat is built has meant that there is no threat to the integrity of the hull nor to the strength of the bow so that sails can still be flown from the stem. This has meant that Leopard’s performance on the long beam reach of the first three days from Newport has not been much compromised except that the yacht has had to sail slightly higher than optimum, which is why it is to the south side of its main competition. However, as the high pressure system is approached, there are very few options for sailing downwind without the sprit.
“Obviously we are very disappointed but happy that nobody was hurt and we are now concentrating on finishing as well as possible,” said Sherlock by sat phone earlier today. “We have a team on stand-by for our arrival in Southampton to make an effective repair in time for our corporate charter commitments and the start of the Fastnet Race. We are unable at this stage to establish the cause of failure.”
Leopard’s owner, Mike Slade, who is not onboard for this race, is as ever determined that Leopard will be back racing as soon as possible and Clarke Murphy, who is the charterer and skipper for the Transatlantic race, is still loving the sleigh ride across the Atlantic.
Transatlantic Race 2011